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Mercedes-Maybach is Coming Back

Super-luxurious crossover being built in Alabama.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

Mercedes-Benz plans to build the new Mercedes-Maybach GLS at its plant in Alabama for global distribution.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is already churning out the GLS and a few other models, but the German automaker is adding one more to the line: The Mercedes-Maybach GLS.

Introduced in China last year as an EV concept, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS will join the next-generation sport-ute getting ready to hit dealerships later this year, according to Autonews. The plant will build the new Maybach for global distribution, the automaker noted.

Product News!

Ultra-luxurious crossover is obviously playing up the theme from the original Maybach, which had its admirers, but didn’t sell in large enough numbers to build as a regular model in the 1990s and early 2000s. (more…)

Aiming to Launch Tesla Model Y Challenger in 2021, Fisker Searching for Plant Site

Electric SUV planned at "below $40,000."

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.18, 2019

The Fisker SUV will adopt an SUV style and offer more interior space than the typical ute by placing key components under the floorboard.

Long-time automotive designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker is readying a challenger to the upcoming Tesla Model Y that will be ready for production during the second half of 2021 at a price of “below $40,000.”

With a range estimated at “around” 300 miles, Fisker Inc. plans to produce it at a factory in the U.S. and is currently searching for a plant site in one of eight states, the Danish-born executive told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview. The company is putting an emphasis on acquiring an existing factory, preferably one of the many abandoned auto plants around the U.S.

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“We hope to pick a site within the next eight to 10 weeks,” Fisker said, noting that a Midwest site with ready access to existing suppliers is high on the priority list, though the final choice would also be impacted by available incentives.

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Cadillac’s New CT5 Revealed Through a “Sensory Symphony”

“We’re very much committed to sedans,” says brand boss Carlisle.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.18, 2019

The Sport edition of the 2020 Cadillac CT5.

Hoping to rebuild momentum for its struggling turnaround strategy, Cadillac has been putting a premium on SUVs, rolling out new models like the XT4 and XT6 this past year and preparing to upgrade the older XT5 and Escalade models, as well.

That’s a logical move, considering utility vehicles now dominate the luxury car market. But General Motors’ flagship brand isn’t abandoning its more traditional product family. The CT5, the new midsize sedan that will be replacing the old CTS, is making its debut today through a broad social media campaign it is calling a “Sensory Symphony,” ahead of its more formal appearance at the New York International Auto Show next month.

Product News!

“We’re very much committed to sedans. Let me clear the air about that,” said Caddy President Steve Carlisle said during a media background briefing.

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Millennials Bucking the Automotive Trend With Driving Choices

Honda Accord is vehicle at the top of the list.

by Michael Strong on Mar.18, 2019

The Honda Accord is the top choice for millennials despite the fact they could likely afford a more expensive vehicle.

For so long, they’ve been the generation of non-drivers content to Uber their way through the world while staring at their iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. However, now that millennials are indeed driving, it’s time to see WHAT they’re driving.

Millennials may be content to spend big money on electronics, it appears that doesn’t translate to their vehicles, according to new study showing that the most popular vehicle among drivers 22 to 37 years old is the Honda Accord.

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This choice of a $23,000 sedan reinforces that millennials aren’t bound to follow the choices made by their parents or others. (more…)

Toyota CEO “Sad” About Being Declared “National Security Threat,” But Plans $3B More in U.S. Investments

Tariffs actually could backfire and see investment plan cut back, warns top Toyota official.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda called the prospect of his company being called a "national security threat" by the Trump administration "sad."

Toyota plans to boost by $3 billion its investment in the U.S. market, a decision that comes as the automaker – and other foreign-based brands – are facing the possibility of huge new tariffs from an American president who has labeled them a “national security threat.”

That designation is something that “makes feel sad,” Akio Toyoda, the Japanese giant’s CEO, said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Washington. “I hope that this kind of conversation can go away,” the grandson of Toyota’s founder said through an interpreter.

Business News!

Separately, the head of Toyota’s North American operations cautioned that those planned investments, which include $749 million to upgrade existing plants in five states, could be cut back if the Trump administration moves ahead with tariffs, something experts have warned could actually result in lower U.S. car sales and a sharp loss of automotive jobs. (more…)

Mustang Electrified?

Ford counter-programs debut of the Tesla Model Y and hints of a high-performance CUV to come.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

“Hold your horses,” or so said Ford Motor Co. in a tweet not-so-coincidentally timed to reach the social media world just as Tesla CEO Elon Musk was getting ready to debut his company’s new Model Y battery-electric SUV.

The Ford post featured that short blurb and a blue version of the Mustang logo against a black background, nothing more. But it does hint at several projects that Ford has already confirmed are in the works. That includes both a hybridized version of the pony car, as well as a Mustang-influenced all-electric SUV that Ford announced during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Electrifying News!

An early player in the electrification field, Ford has fallen behind not just Tesla but conventional rivals like General Motors and Volkswagen, both investing heavily in long-range, battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. Ford officials say they are going to make a push to catch up and have confirmed that the first entry into next-gen electric technology would be a performance-oriented crossover tentatively named Mach 1 and due to market about when the Tesla Model Y hits the street about a year from now.

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Penske Takes on Daimler Electric Trucks for Deliveries

Trucks travel about 60 miles on a charge.

by Joseph Szczesny on Mar.15, 2019

The brand-new FUSO eCanter, the first all-electric light-duty truck in series production, is now being used by Penske for deliveries.

Penske Truck Leasing is preparing plans to operate electric trucks from Daimler AG’s Japanese affiliate Fuso for urban deliveries in California.

“With its Fuso brand Daimler was able to gain knowledge and experience with e-trucks globally in various markets,” said Hartmut Schick, head Daimler Trucks Asia.

News You Can Trust!

“We are very proud, that now with Penske, a huge commercial customer in the U.S., will also operate the Fuso eCanter for urban delivery – next to its Freightliner brothers. Penske will benefit from the global know how and experience network within Daimler Trucks,” he added. (more…)

As Tesla Model Y Debuts, Musk Asks: Do You Think We’re “S3XY”?

New Model Y to be offered in four distinct versions – but economy buyers will have to wait.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.15, 2019

The Tesla Model Y is likely to look quite familiar to fans of the earlier Model 3 sedan.

The long-awaited Tesla Model Y made its formal debut on Thursday night, with CEO Elon Musk declaring it takes an already attractive line-up and makes it “S3XY.” The inside joke adds the new electric SUV to the automaker’s existing line-up of Models S, 3 and X.

But there’s a serious side to the launch. Tesla continues to struggle to right its balance sheet, plunging back into the red this quarter after earning money during the second half of 2018. The Model Y is expected to become Tesla’s best-seller, Musk declared, telling his audience “we’ll do more Model Ys than S, X and 3 combined.” And that includes not just the U.S. but also China, where Tesla is struggling to get a foothold in the world’s largest market for battery-electric vehicles.

Breaking Product News!

The Model Y will be one of the vehicles Tesla plans to produce once it opens up a new plant in Shanghai later this year. That will give it a way to hold costs down and also to sidestep any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

(Here’s our Model Y preview. Click Here to see how close we came.)

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What to Expect When Tesla’s Model Y Rolls Out

New electric-SUV could double sales of Model 3.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.14, 2019

The Model Y debuts tonight and will be more expensive than the Model 3.

In a market where SUVs and CUVs have overwhelmed traditional sedans and coupes, there’s a yawning gap in the Tesla line-up that the upstart automaker intends to fill in the months ahead.

And the process will begin this evening when CEO Elon Musk pulls the wraps off the Tesla Model Y. Set to become the fourth product in the automaker’s portfolio, the battery-SUV could outsell all existing Tesla products combined, at least if a recent forecast by CEO Elon Musk proves accurate.

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“We will probably see higher volumes for Model Y than Model 3, (perhaps) double,” the 47-year-old exec said during a late January conference call with auto analysts and journalists. (more…)

Audi Planning Dozens of EV Concepts, Production Models

But shift threatens familiar models, like the TT.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.14, 2019

The Q4 e-tron appears to be about the same size as the current Q3, and is expected to hit the road in 2021.

Few automakers have decided to plug into electrification like Audi, the luxury arm of Volkswagen AG showing off an assortment of concepts and production models over the last year. Now, the automaker says, its push is ramping up, with as many as three dozen battery-electric products in the pipeline.

Audi is echoing the direction being blazed by its parent, VWAG CEO Herbert Diess yesterday announcing the company’s dozen passenger brands expect to sell a collective 22 million battery-electric vehicles by 2029, a 50% increase from its previous forecast.

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But the transition to electric won’t come cheap. The billions of euros Audi and its parent are investing in electrification will drop the luxury brand’s own operating return on sales to between 7 and 8.5%, officials said during a meeting at brand headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, compared to a long-term Audi goal of between 9 and 11%. (more…)